Monday, April 30, 2012

The Future Mrs. Berry

This weekend I drove down to Oceanside (near San Diego) for Emily's bridal shower.

Isn't she gorgeous?

I couldn't help but enable Emily's garlic addiction. 

 It's very easy to celebrate Emily & Tyler's marriage because of how much I love & adore both of them. As you can tell, we had lots of fun in a beautiful setting with delicious food & drinks!

Friday, April 27, 2012


 I'm sure southerners think it's laughable how much I love the Alabama shrubbery, but I couldn't stop taking pictures of it! It's beautiful out there.

 On our last morning, we went to another favorite, the Waffle House. They had surprisingly good coffee for a chain restaurant with questionable FDA codes...

We're home now. It feels good to be back, but it was so hard to leave. I already miss the family so much. Towards the end of our trip, our afternoons were spent sitting with Grandma, drinking sweet tea while she shared stories with us. She told us about picking cotton in the field as a girl, what it was like when women started wearing pants and the sorrow that came through World War II. She is full of endless commentary, which I love and value anytime we're around her. Of course, this means she is full of stories about her first grandson.

Including pictures. Isn't he a stud? Style & swag since the very beginning. I loved seeing all the old pictures of their family. (Let me tell you, Grandma was quite the dish!) It was hard to say good-bye to them, but hopefully we'll see them sooner than later.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On a Walk

Matt and I took a walk around his family's neighborhood before dinner last night. We came across this little beauty nestled behind some houses down the street:

When we got back, this lovely lady was frying up some dinner for us! She made Matt's favorite recipes: fried salmon cakes, baked macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes and rolls. Yes that's right, we had an all-starch meal. Matt is pretty strictly gluten-free back home so this was a huge treat for him. (And a huge stomach ache...) It was the most delicious meal either of us have had in a while! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Catfish House

One of Matt's favorite places to go when he's back home is the Catfish House. Besides an incredible menu, they have an unbeatable atmosphere. The dining room has large windows that allow you to peer outside behind the restaurant where there's a beautiful field. Next to it is a quiet lake, humming with the songs of frogs. (Together they sound like a symphony, but the first time I heard the bellow of a bull frog out here, I thought there was a howling dog outside our window!)

After dinner, Matt and I were able to catch a few pictures behind the restaurant while the sun was setting. I found it hard to tear myself away from such a serene environment that would be impossible to recreate back home. Although I love the sound of waves lapping up on the beach, I've always been more drawn in by the stillness of the woods and a motionless lake.

The inside of the restaurant is just as appealing; buzzing with conversation and full of life from floor to ceiling. We had a delicious dinner and of course a great time with the family. And probably three buckets, that's right, buckets, of hushpuppies.

Is it obvious that I love it here?

Sunday, April 22, 2012


One of the many great things about being with Matt has been marrying into all the wonderful friends he has! For example, Joey & Christen:


They graciously hosted us for two days in their beautiful home and we got to spend lots of time together. Matt & Joey have been close friends for years and hardly get to spend time together so we split up for the day and I got to hang out with Christen! We had a very girly day together wandering the botanical gardens, snacking on cupcakes at the bakery and, of course, shopping. 

Who knows what the guys did, but we had a great time. Thanks for a fun day, Christen! Later we all joined up for dinner and headed out to see Charles Bradley play downtown.


If you can't tell by the picture, this man has soul. He revisits the '60s with some serious funk music. If you want some good throw back tunes, I highly recommend him! But get ready to dance.  Needless to say, it was a fun way to end a great day with them. The show was a lot of fun, the venue was nice and we had a great bartender.

Okay you two, our turn to host! Come visit!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Penn Burger

We headed over to Matt's grandparent's house to spend our last day in North Alabama with them. As I mentioned before, they live in an incredible house in the historic district of Decatur. We circled the blocks a few times and I couldn't stop exclaiming "look at that house!" 

This is the house next door and I couldn't help but take a picture of their adorable porch set up! It looks like the cover of Southern Living to me. I want to sit on those steps and drink sweet tea, please. 

We continued our walk around town and came across C.F. Penn Hamburgers. Despite severe warning from my mother-in-law, we stepped inside to taste the infamous deep-fried burgers. 

 I cautiously took my first bite, and then inhaled the rest of it. I decided not to post pictures of the vat of grease that the burgers float around in before you order them (God only knows how long they've been in there, by the way). Because who knows, I wouldn't want that picture to get into the wrong hands and close them down. I'm kidding. 
I think. 

Matt's family will probably never let me live it down, but those things were GOOD. It probably took a few years off my life, but I'd eat one again. They're celebrating their 85th Anniversary this Saturday. Good work, C.F., we love your burgers. 

Isn't that beautiful? Not sure if it's a farm or a house, but I love it. I took that while we were driving on the freeway, heading to Birmingham. It was great to get so much unexpected time with that side of Matt's family but now we're heading a bit more south for the second half of our trip! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


 We've had a few reasons to dress up this week. (I couldn't resist taking a few photos since we don't look this polished very often!) Our plan for this trip was to be here in time to celebrate Grandma's birthday on Tuesday. We had a lovely breakfast that morning at Cracker Barrel with her and Matt's Aunt Amy (Neysa & Roy, you were missed). It seems so southern to me in there, but Cracker Barrel restaurants are as west as Arizona! They have the most delicious, fluffy pancakes & a rustic front store on your way to the dining room. 

 We even got to sing her happy birthday, thanks to our sweet server, Tomi, who is among the few people in this world who agree it's acceptable to eat chocolate cake in the morning. 

Another life we got to celebrate while we're here was Matt's grandfather, who passed away a few days after we arrived. We are thankful for God's unexpected timing in all of this that allowed us to surround his family during this time and support them.

I love this picture of them. This frame hangs in the doorway of their incredible, historical three-level home. Matt had the extreme privilege of retelling part of their love story during the service and bringing to life the hope we have through Scripture. I was so blessed to be a part of the celebration of his life this week and get to know the wonderful family he started. 

It is so evident to me how loved, missed, cherished & respected Stanley, affectionally known as Paski by his grandchildren, is and will continue to be. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


On Sunday morning, we popped into Matt's church and surprised everyone. I love visiting his old church family there. Everyone is so unbelievably hospitable and loving. Pictured below are Ron & Donna, two of the most caring and sweet people I've ever met! With tears in her eyes, Donna told me that having us at church that morning was like having her children come home. We loved seeing everyone there! We'll be back soon, Shiloh. 

After church & lunch, we went over to Renae & Cory's house for a visit. Renae went to high school with Matt so she's always good for a few embarrassing stories about him. Their vivacious little boy, Carter, is the one snuggled up in my lap. Don't be fooled, that's probably the only time he stopped talking, dancing or posing the entire time we were there. That kid is way too smart & friendly for his own good. Good luck Renae! 

One of my favorite things about the south is all the brick. It's so timeless. It's hard to find a neighborhood that's not peppered with beautiful, brick homes. I just love it. 

Why don't we make all buildings out of bricks?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spring Game

On our first day in Alabama, we headed to the spring A Game. Here are a few shots from my first time in the Alabama stadium. That's right, we're Crimson Tide fans around here. Roll tide. 

I couldn't believe how huge the stadium is! These pictures don't do it justice, it is incredible. We got to see Coach Saban, my boy Trent & Mark Ingram! I was loving it.